Cadet Program

2015 Cadet Graduation

Since 1982, young women and men, ages 13 to 17, have partnered with the USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) to learn first-hand about law enforcement and emergency services. Cadets first attend an in-depth training academy where they’re immersed in classes on criminal law, community relations, self-defense, and general safety among other topics. Once they’ve successfully completed their studies, recruits apply what they’ve learned to real tasks, performing a variety of community-based, non-hazardous assignments on USC’s campus and throughout Southern California in association with the Los Angeles Police Department.

About the Program

This program offers the local youth an opportunity to understand crime prevention, work with local activists and law enforcement, and contribute to their community. The cadets work under the supervision of full-time DPS officers who act as Post Advisors.

Cadets will:

  • Complete specialized training and physical fitness training
  • Attend crime prevention programs
  • Assist with traffic and crowd control, including USC football games and special events
  • Provided weekly tutoring assistance
  • Complete community service projects
  • Attend regularly scheduled field trips and cadet social events


To apply, candidates must meet the following criteria. Cadet recruits should:

  • Be between the ages of 13 and 17 years
  • Have at least a C average in school
  • Have parental consent to apply
  • Have no record of serious arrests or convictions
  • Be in good physical condition
  • Obtain a medical examination (to qualify for insurance)

Click here to apply now.

Additional Qualifications

In addition to the physical and technical requirements listed above, cadet candidates should also:

  • Have good moral character and desire to serve the community
  • Demonstrate a willingness to participate in cadet activities

Application Process

  1. If you meet the criteria outlined above, please send an email including your first and last name to letting us know you are interested in the program.
  2. After receiving your email, a DPS staff member will contact you to confirm your eligibility and schedule an oral interview.
  3. Following oral interviews, DPS will invite qualified candidates to attend its Cadet Academy.


Recruits must attend and graduate from our Cadet Academy before beginning fieldwork. Academy training:

  • Includes approximately 96 hours of academics, physical conditioning and experiential classes at the Los Angeles Police Cadet Academy in Westchester
  • Extends over 15 consecutive Saturdays
  • Consists of classes on criminal law, community relations, general safety, alcohol/drug awareness, police procedures, drill and ceremonies, physical fitness and character development

Download our brochure in English or Spanish.


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